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A Spurs fan's view of the Las Vegas Summer League: Day 2

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Armed with a full night's sleep, Mark Barrington headed out to the second day of Las Vegas Summer League.

Mark Barrington

In case you missed Day 1, you can catch up here.

Mercifully, a cirrus cloud appeared over Vegas and blocked a tiny bit of the sun's radiant energy from reaching the ground at noon Monday. After finally banking a full night's sleep, I grabbed my camera and notebook and my fully charged phone and headed for the Thomas and Mack Center at just after noon. The Spurs didn't play until 3:30 but I wanted to catch as much action as I had time and energy to watch.

The first game on the schedule was the NBA D-League Select team vs. the Washington Wizards.  Because only 23 teams are fielding Summer League Rosters, the NBA added another team composed of the best players from the NBA D-League that weren't on any of the other teams' rosters.  The game was in the Cox Pavilion, the smaller of the two arenas at the Thomas and Mack Center, and it was one of the more lightly attended games so far.

The D-League roster has a lot of talent, and their players are all hungry and used to playing a with different teammates from game to game.  I ended up sitting with a group that was there to watch Justin Dentmon, who had played for the Silver and Black on two 10-day contracts a few years back. His last contract was for a team in China, but he was back in the US looking for a team. He had a pretty good game, scoring 9 points with 3 assists in 21 minutes.  Justin's mom, Stephanie Dentmon, was really nice and great to talk to.

The best player on the D-League Select team (man is that a clunky name, they need a better nickname!) Monday was Scotty Hopson who scored 20 and shot 70% from the field in the game.  Blake Griffin's older brother Taylor played for them, but didn't do much, only scoring 2 points.

The biggest surprise was Hasheem Thabeet, the 7' 3" center who was the second pick in the draft in 2009, but isn't on an NBA team. He looked terrible playing for the D-Leaguers, and mercifully took two quick techs after saying something to the refs late in the first half, after a guy a foot shorter than him outhustled him for a rebound. I'm not sure what transpired to get him ejected, but there was literally no time at all between the first and second tech, and he was gone from the game. Not that he made much of an impression while he was on the court. For the time he was out on the court, he was the worst player on the D-League Select team, and that's just sad.

Nobody on the Wizards played well except for Kelly Oubre, Jr. who made several plays purely with his athleticism.  But the lack of enthusiasm and quality play by his teammates caused the Wizards to go down 94-74. The D-League team on paper looks weak relative to a lot of the other teams at the tournament, who all have at least a few NBA players under contract, but they are stacked with quality players and hungry as hell.  I wouldn't be surprised if they make it to the quarterfinals, where they will lose to one of the teams that already has NBA rotation players on the roster.

Stephanie Dentmon offered to introduce me to Justin, but I had to rush off for the start of the Spurs game. I probably should have stayed, but maybe I'll get another chance tomorrow. With any luck I'll be able to get a picture with Justin and me.

The Summer Spurs game against the Milwaukee Bucks started at 3:30 pm in the Thomas and Mack Center.  I was looking forward to seeing if Jonathon Simmons would play as well on his second day with the Spurs as he did on his first. It didn't start out that way, maybe it was just a little tiring to get signed and play two games with a new team in less than 48 hours.

Just like Saturday's game against the Knicks, the Spurs started slowly. Jerome Randle, who's listed at 5' 10" but looks to be shorter, made some plays with his speed for the Bucks.  Sean Kirkpatrick has a smooth shooting stroke and hustles on defense.  Durand Scott looked strong and helped to stake the Bucks to an early lead, but the Spurs battled back and evened up the score at the end of the first quarter.  Kyle Anderson had another really good game, when he wasn't confounding defenders with his length, he used a variety of moves to draw fouls.  He also shot better than in Saturday's game, and that gave him more room to operate.

Jarrell Eddie shot 5-8 from 3, but they were all assisted open shots, and he literally did nothing else. It's hard to imagine a guy who can't handle the ball, who isn't that great on defense, but who shoots pretty well could find a place on an NBA team, but at least he knows what he has to work on.  And shooting well is a great start. Shannon Scott and Atkins played well for the Spurs, and Cady Lalanne had a decent outing, draining some mid range shots and playing with effort, but not a lot of skill around the basket.

By the second half Jonathon Simmons started to shake off the second-day rust, and played a lot stronger, making his second monster dunk in as many days.  He also made a terrific steal, and fed the ball to Treveon Graham who was far ahead of the pack and ... softly laid it in the basket.  Now, if there's something a Summer League audience hates more than an airball, it's a lay in on a fast break.  Graham was booed loudly for passing up the opportunity to dunk the ball, and that was the most Spursy thing I saw all night.

Except for when Simmons dribbled into a double team and got stripped of the ball but didn't give up on the play and chased down and blocked the attempt at the other end.

The Spurs built up a big lead and most of the fourth quarter was garbage time.  Except for the fact that there's no real garbage time in Summer League because all of it counts for players who are fighting to impress and look for a job. With about a minute left, a chant of "Becky! Becky! Becky!" erupted from the crowd and the Spurs ran out the clock, celebrating the first Summer League win from a team with a female head coach.

I stayed for a bit of the Hawks/Warriors game and noticed that Kuzmic is indeed very tall and DeAndre 'Citizen' Kane is very quick, but I didn't have the energy to make it all the way through the game. So I headed out and made the walk back from the Summer League place to the Hard Rock. The sun had already started to go down and it was starting to cool off.  Everything about my second day of summer league was just a whole lot better and easier than the first.

The Spurs don't play on Monday, but somehow summer league will continue without them. So will these reports. I'm planning to go to some games and share what I find out about players and give my impressions of the games. For sure, I'll be watching the D-League Select team, which is becoming my favorite team at Summer League. I'm also going to the nuclear testing museum and find out all about Area 51 ... where Popovich learned to coach, and where the Duncan alien DNA strain was developed. Or so I'm told. I'm probably breaking protocol by telling you about this, so there may not be an article tomorrow. Or maybe it will be written by someone else as a coverup.

The last day of regular play in Summer League will be Tuesday, and the Spurs will play Portland in a grudge match after San Antonio signed the Trail Blazers' best player. That will be my last day in Vegas, Summer League will continue with a championship tournament, but I need to return home before that gets resolved, so that's going to be the last report in this series.